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Richard Kenton Webb

Richard Kenton Webb is a Senior Lecturer for the Drawing and Applied Arts degree. He teaches into all three years but has particular responsibilities for the first year students.

Richard gained his M.A. in painting at The Royal College of Art and has considerable experience in teaching drawing, the understanding of colour, and developing creativity and the abstract generally. His work in colour both as a tutor and a painter is one of his principal considerations.

Richard’s teaching practice draws from a broad research base. His reading envelops art history, neurology, anthropology, philosophy, psychology, psychoanalysis, children’s art, mental growth, history and education to explore the vast subject of colour, creativity and the imagination. This is inspired by his desire to facilitate and awaken creativity across the senses, thus helping his students to be more inventive and individual. He has recently created some hand-crafted colour boxes and a colour alphabet as practical tools to help his students make the right decisions about their work.

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Since 2000 his creative practice has involved making a colour grammar in a series of 44 paintings. These have now extended into a series of 22 sculptures which he calls ‘colour forms’. Drawing has always underpinned his work. Since 2000, he has also worked with a composer, exploring the marrying of sound, image and place. The composer is responding with different instruments for each of the 22 colour spectrum of forms. Richard has participated in international artist in residence programs and exhibits in the UK and overseas.

You can find out more on his website: www.richardkentonwebb.com.

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“Understanding language is like understanding music. Language can convey information, and music cannot, but both are expressive
and require subtle responses to convey understanding. These responses do not depend on explicit rules, but on appropriate responses
to the aspects, their differences and similarities”
John Heaton. Introducing Wittgenstein. P160

Colour

  •  Colour can be used as a language that lies outside of words yet inside our way of life.
  •  It is a way of life, which we cannot step outside from, yet can express internal translations of both external and internal
    happenings whether visibly or invisibly experienced.
  •  Colour used as pigment; where it becomes stuff, substance; quality with character and personality suggesting equivalents
    and mirroring occurrences in a life lived.
  •  Where colour in itself suggests forms, movements, a voice; different from its neighbour.
  •  Where colour is metaphysical, speaking of ‘other’ possibilities, personages and occurrences seen but not necessarily heard,
    or heard and not necessarily seen.
  •  Colour as blacks, whites and greys that is colour by suggestion or hallucination, feeling or instinct
  •  Colour as non-hierarchical
  •  Colour as open, mysterious and practical

Colour Forms

Since 2007 I have been working with the composer Alexandra Harwood on a colour/sound adventure. This involves an advancement on a previous series of work ‘a colour grammar’ made between 2002 -2005 which deals amongst other things with a number of questions like – Is colour a language? – Does colour have form? Can one awaken synaesthetic possibilities in the viewer? etc. This series is concerned with these questions too but primary with the movement within each colour family and the forms it takes and makes/suggests.

22 Colours

*(Please see my website where there is a ‘Colour Conversation’ with Dr Richard Davey which will amplify my intentions clearer)

Because one needs some kind of structure to begin an investigation, and for it to remain open one needs to place a framework to play in.

“I have no use for a theoretic freedom. Let me have something finite, definite – matter that can lend itself to my operation only insofar as it is commensurate with my possibilities. And such matter presents itself to me together with its limitations. I must in turn impose mine upon it. So here we are, whether we like it or not, in the realm of necessity. And yet which of us has ever heard talk of art as other than a realm of freedom? This sort of heresy is uniformly widespread because it is imagined that art is outside the bounds of ordinary activity.

Well, in art as in everything else, one can build only upon a resisting foundation: whatever constantly gives way to pressure constantly renders movement impossible. My freedom thus consists in my moving about within the narrow frame that I have assigned myself for each one of my undertakings. I shall go even further: my freedom will be so much the greater and more meaningful the more narrowly I limit my field of action and the more I surround myself with obstacles. Whatever diminishes constraint diminishes strength. The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one’s self of the chains that shackle the spirit”

Igor Stravinsky; Poetics of music in the form of six lessons. Harvard 1942.pp64-65.

Using the template of the Semitic alphabet (that all western alphabets come from) of 22, I have named 22 colours of the visible colour spectrum, placed into seven parts –

  1. RED; dark,middle,light.
  2. ORANGE; orange-red,darkorange,light orange,
  3. YELLOW; yellow-orange,dark yellow,light yellow.
  4. GREEN; Green-yellow,Green dark green light,
  5. BLUE; green-blue,blue-green,blue.
  6. BLUE; VIOLET; dark,middle,light.
  7. VIOLET; violet dark,violet light, violet-red and purple.

8 Pigments

*Each aspect of the colour is represented by Eight pigments, four earth-like and four spectral-like. So, for instance for dark red, it is represented by eight different dark red pigments, likewise for red middle and red light making a total of 24 pigments for red.

The final image of each series like ‘Redness’ is a selection chosen from those that in their relationship together best sum up the qualities of what redness is.
The images themselves are intuitively and loosely found by the grinding up of the pigments and the synaesthetic crossing over of what the materials suggest their form should look like and move like.

The Movement Of Colour

Each colour of the 22 is set into three aspects and those three aspects with three forms together with a final image covering the whole series. For instance:

  1. Dark Red
    A. 4 dark red earth-like colours. 200x200cms oil on linen (outscape)
    B. dark red colour form sculpture, plaster. Approx 54x30x7cm
    C. 4 dark red spectral-like colours. 68.5x114cm (inscape)
  2. Middle Red
    A. 4 middle red earth-like colours
    B. Middle red colour form, sculpture
    C. 4 middle red spectral-like colours
  3. Light Red
    A. 4 light red earth-like colours
    B. light red colour form, sculpture
    C. 4 light red spectral-like colours
  4. Redness.
    200x200cms oil on linen (conclusion)

The Music

The music is composed in relationship to this four-part form. And in three of those four parts the concern is with the physical visual movement between the dynamic of the A to B to C and vice-versa.

A, the smaller landscape shape painting is made of 4 spectral like colours where the subject is more concerned with inscape, thoughts of the mind.
B, the white plaster colour form of the colour is a 3D interpretation of the colour form without the colour so you as the viewer have to hallucinate/project the colour onto it in your mind.
C, the life size, six and a half feet square painting hopefully that you can fall into is where the subject is more concerned with outscape, thoughts of the land.

The Landscape

Also each of the 22 colour movements (held within the seven main sequences) is concerned with a specific land space in the Cotswolds. To discuss this there are

(a) 3 linocuts made for each of these particular and peculiar places, giving the viewer a feel for the site.
(b) A poem concerned with the place.
(c) 3 linocuts of the place with the colour forms imagined in situ. So that the colour form is positioned as a kind of finale on the musings of each specific place. The perfect intention is that when you visited the site and approached the Colour Form the particular music for the form composed by Alex would play from the form.
(d) 2 linocuts of a map of the Cotswolds and the three sites seen in relationship to each other and their triangulation.
(e) A linocut of a stone/marker taken from each.

The Colour Linocuts

Because of the scale and uniqueness of the paintings and the sculptures have a limited accessibility outside of exhibitions I have endeavoured to make scaled down translations of the experience into a series of single colour and 4 and 6 coloured linocuts which can be read like a book in a portfolio/box of the prints with a recording of the music included. Furthermore there are extra linocuts of multiple colour forms of each colour to dispel the idea of a unique form for each colour but more a sense of a shape quality and the movements displayed in the forms to give an overriding opinion of the form rather than a particular specific intention.

The composition of the music for each sequence must be for a certain part of the orchestra, which is never repeated i.e. Brass has been for Red and Orange is for percussion, so finally the whole orchestra is covered. With the very final movement of Purple, being a mixture of the beginning and end of the spectrum then Alex will make a composition using the whole orchestra.

The Red series was shown at the Djangoly Gallery Nottingham in the ‘Figuring Light Exhibition’, Nov 2008 and Jan 2009.
The Red series of Linocuts were shown at Abbey Walk Gallery Grimsby in the ‘Nature of Landscape’ Exhibition, July – August 2009, ‘Impact 6’ international Multi-disciplinary printmaking conference, Bristol Sept 2009 and the ‘Drawing into Printmaking Exhibition’ at The Chapel Row Gallery Bath, Oct – Nov 2009.

They will be shown this year at the East Coast School of Art and Design, The Nature of Landscape 1. March – April 2010; and the Abbey Walk Gallery, The Nature of Landscape 2′, April 2010

The Orange series will have its first showing at The Abbey walk Gallery, Grimsby in 2011. (Date as yet to be finalised) which will include all the paintings, sculptures and linocuts shown together with the World premier of the music composed especially for Orange by Alexandra Harwood, most probably for percussion.

Richard Kenton Webb
January 2010

Education

  • 1983-86
    •  M.A. The Royal College of Art, London, UK
  • 1982-83
    • Boise Travelling Fellowship, Rome, Italy
  • 1978-82
    • B.A. Slade School of Fine Art, London, UK
  • 1977-78  
    • Chelsea School of Art, London, UK

Current teaching

  • 2005 –
    • Senior lecturer, Drawing and Applied Arts, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK

Previous posts held at

  • 2003-05
    • The Prince of Wales Drawing School, London, UK
  • 1989-05
    • Slade School of Fine Art, London, UK
  • 1987-95
    • Byam Shaw School of Art, London, UK
  • 1986-87
    • Cheltenham Art School, UK

Residencies and Scholarships

  • 1999
    • SACI International, Florence, Italy
  • 1988
    • St Stephens College, Oxford, UK
  • 1985
    • Cité International des Arts, Paris, France
  • 1985
    • Boise Travelling Scholarship, British School at Rome, Italy

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2009
    • Redness, Main Gallery, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK
  • 2005
    • The Chapel Gallery, Cheltenham, UK
    • A Colour Grammar, Slade Gallery, London, UK
  • 2000
    • North Light Gallery, Huddersfield, UK
  • 1999
    • SACI Gallery, Florence, Italy
  • 1998
    • Slade Gallery, London, UK
    • Kirkjulakjarkot, Iceland
  • 1994
    • Benjamin Rhodes Gallery, London, UK
  • 1992
    • Benjamin Rhodes Gallery, London, UK
  • 1989
    • Benjamin Rhodes Gallery, London, UK
  • 1987
    • Benjamin Rhodes Gallery, London, UK

Selected Recent Group Exhibitions

  • 2010
    • The Nature of Landscape 2, Grimsby
  • 2009
    • Drawing in Printmaking, Chapel Row Gallery. Bath, UK
  • 2009
    • The Nature of Landscape, Abbey WalkGallery, Grimsby, UK
    • IMPACT 6  International Multi-disciplinary printmaking conference, Bristol, UK
  • 2008
    • Figuring Light: Colour and the Intangible, Djanogly Gallery, Lakeside Arts Centre, University of Nottingham, UK – Including premiere
      of Redness, the music inspired by the paintings and composed by Alexandra Harwood and performed by Onyx Brass Quintet.
    • Mini Print (no 23) Blackwells, Bristol, UK
  • 2007
    • Wall of Statements, Istanbul, Enschede, Bristol, Braunschweig, Wroclaw, Aberdeen, Munster, Strasbourgh, Cork.
  • 2006
    • Looking Back – Looking Forward, The Chapel Row Gallery, Bath, UK
    • Mini Print (no 21) Blackwells, Bristol, UK
  • 2003
    • Heartworks, Six Chapel Row, Bath, UK
  • 2002
    • Music, Sherborne House, Dorset, UK
  • 2001
    • Six Abstract Painters, Six Chapel Row, London, UK

Commissions

  • 1992  
    • (stained glass) SS Philip and James, Leckhampton, Cheltenham UK
  • 1993
    • (stained glass) St Michael and all Angels, Eastington, Gloucestershire UK

Richard Kenton Webb
e-mail:     richard@richardkentonwebb.com (home)
Richard4.Webb@uwe.ac.uk (work)
website:  www.richardkentonwebb.com

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